Equinor to add 70 million barrels with three new wells on Fram

Equinor and its partners are making investments in the Fram field off Norway that will almost double the field’s remaining reserves.

Troll C platform

Fram is an oil and gas field in the northern part of the North Sea, located around 20 kilometers north of Troll. Water depth in the area is about 350 meters.

Last autumn the Fram license partners decided to invest more than NOK 1 billion ($123.2M) in a new gas module on Troll C, and now they have decided to drill three new wells on the field for NOK 1.9 billion. ($234.1M)

Equinor said on Friday that the the three wells will give 70 million new barrels of oil and gas, thanks to higher gas processing capacity on Troll C.

Aibel was last year awarded the EPCI contract for the Troll C gas module. The fabrication work is being done at Aibel’s Haugesund yard.

Equinor stated that the installation preparations for the gas module started early in May, and the installation work on the platform will start in June. Start-up of the new gas module is expected in the autumn of 2019.

Accelerating recovery

The new gas module will enable accelerated recovery of resources in the Fram area, which has previously been limited by the Troll C gas processing capacity.

The Fram field consists of four subsea templates, each comprising four well slots. The three wells to be drilled will reuse three well slots that were in use earlier, thereby eliminating the need for new subsea installations.

“The investments open up new possibilities in the Fram area. When the gas module is ready, we will be able to accelerate the recovery rate in the Fram area. Since we will reuse our subsea installations we will curb costs and thereby achieve high project profitability,” says Gunnar Nakken, head of the operations west cluster.

Boosting production, the three new wells will represent net earnings that at current prices will create value of a total of NOK 18 billion.

Longer life for Fram

Discovered in 1990, the Fram field came on stream in 2003. Since then, the field has yielded a good return with total earnings of NOK 110 billion. The field life was originally estimated to last until 2023, and the license period will expire in 2024. The new wells will extend field production to 2030 or longer, and may be extended further by the development plans for the area.

New seismic data of the Fram area have been gathered, and Equinor and the partners are currently working on identifying new exploration opportunities and carrying out quality assurance of existing prospects.

Since the field will have profitable production far beyond the original plans and the license period awarded by the authorities, the Fram partners have applied to the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy for extending the license period to 2040.

“By developing the Fram field we will almost double the remaining recoverable reserves and extend the life of the Fram installations. It is a great story that has been realized by a holistic development of resources close to our existing infrastructure, involving both authorities and owners of several licences,” says Nakken.

Scheduled to start at the turn of the year 2018/2019, drilling of the three wells will take around one year.

Licence owners: Equinor (45%), ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Norway (25%), Neptune Energy (15%), and Idemitsu Petroleum Norge (15%).